The Role of Capital (Cultural, Social, Economic, Symbolic) in the Entrepreneurial Process
In our research, we primarily draw on the capital conceptualisation of Pierre Bourdieu. For that French sociologist and philosopher (1977: 178), capital acts as a social relation within a system of exchange, and the term is extended “to all the goods, material and symbolic, without distinction, that present themselves as rare and worthy of being sought after in a particular social formation”. According to his theory of field, economic actors permanently struggle for power viewed as different forms of capital specific to the business field (market), because they give access to profits that are desirable in the field. Moreover, capital is for Bourdieu (1992: 97) both the powerful asset and the stake in the business “game”. The fundamental forms of capital that tend to operate in all social fields - also in the business field - are cultural, social, economic, and symbolic capital, which can interconvert from one into another. The aim of the research is to analyze the importance of and interdependences between various tangible and non-tangible species of capital in the context of entrepreneurship. Bourdieu does not give any theoretical priority to one specific capital over other. However, due to the fact that he views economic actors as homo sociologicus and stresses the importance of social and cultural embeddedness to individual actions (decisions/behaviors/practices), cultural and symbolic capital demands his most attention. These forms of capital remind underresearched in the context of the entrepreneurial process and constitute a relevant focus of our study.
founder/entrepreneur, cultural, social, economic, and symbolic capital, capital conversion, (early) new venture performance
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